What is a PEP?
A PEP reflects any existing education plans, such as Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or individual education plan (IEP). It is a statutory requirement for children in care to have a PEP from the age of 3 (or when they begin education) until they are 18 and the plan is the joint responsibility of the school and the local authority, who also have a legal duty to maintain the child’s Care Plan.
The plan contains information about the child’s progress, attainment, social and emotional development and helps schools, carers and social workers to identify their needs and how they can be met.
When are the meetings?
PEP meetings are usually held 3 times per year in Primary and Secondary school, during which targets are set and reviewed. The meetings are an opportunity to ensure good communication and understanding between school and carer.
There will be additional Transition PEP meetings between Early Years and starting school and alongside any other planned school move, to ensure a transition plan is put in place. At Post-16, PEPs take place at least once a year.
Who should attend?
The child’s social worker is responsible for determining who should attend the PEP meetings, however they’re usually attended by the carer(s), social worker and Designated Teacher (DT) or another member of staff. Where necessary, Education Improvement Officers from the Virtual School will attend the meetings. In some cases, other people may also be invited, e.g. fostering social workers, birth family, LAC nurses or speech and language therapists. The child/young person should attend the meeting too if it’s appropriate.
Who gets a say?
Everybody at the meeting should have the chance to express their opinions about the education being received, but it is most important that the views of the child are represented at the PEP. Before the meeting, the Virtual School send a Pupil Views booklet for them to fill in, so that their views can be discussed and addressed at the meeting.
It’s also important for the carer to be able to represent the child’s best interests and feel confident in supporting and working with the school to ensure progress is being made. This includes supporting with homework, ensuring the PPP is being spent effectively and helping raise aspirations by encouraging young people to access extra-curricular and Virtual School participation activities.
What if the PEP is postponed?
The PEP will usually only be postponed if the social worker is unable to attend. However they may elect for the meeting to continue in their absence should they determine that other key personnel are able to conduct the meeting in their absence.
In the event that the meeting is postponed, it will be rescheduled for a future date. Carers may still want to meet with the DT to discuss anything they're concerned about and can request that the appointment is honoured. It will not be recorded as a PEP, although the outcomes of the discussion are still likely to have a positive impact.